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The Art of Art

Art like beauty is in the eye of the beholder and only limited by the creator’s imagination. Expats may find that their eye is challenged more often as they encounter artists who experiment outside of accepted or traditional forms. One of the advantages of living in a large cosmopolitan cities like New York is that art is easily accessible and can be viewed in museums, galleries, and many public places. There are enough venues to satisfy all tastes and awaken the art critic in us all.

For expats looking for the more traditional and familiar forms of art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is a first stop. Their permanent exhibits showcase a wide variety of classical, ethnic and historical pieces while their temporary exhibits re-present items from their own extensive collection or host pieces from other museums and galleries. Temporary exhibits also showcases experimental work, new artists, challenging viewpoints. A current temporary exhibit is the Big Bambu by artists Doug and Mike Starn. Installed on the Met’s rooftop garden, the bamboo construction is a grown-up jungle gym — a crisscross of height and strength juxtaposed against the background of steel and girder skyscrapers. Over the summer, the structure will continue to change as the Starns grow the bamboo forest and reconfigure the balance of the whole.

Doug and Mike Starn's Big Bambu

Doug and Mike Starn's Big Bambu exhibit on the Metropolitan rooftop garden.

In New York City, museums are not the only places where you can encounter art. Event Horizon, Antony Gormley’s summer exhibit caused confusion and moments of consternation in pedestrians (and emergency services). As part of the Madison Square Park art program, Gormley installed statues on rooftops overlooking the Madison Square Park — an interesting idea once you realize the intent of the statues. The context of the exhibit is posted with statues in the park itself but for those just walking by, the statues can be very unexpected. But then the unexpected is the point and the reminder to look up.

Antony Gormley's statues

Antony Gormley's statues around Madison Square Park -- remember to look up.

Whether traditional, classic or unexpected and surprising, art is meant to stir the senses and give us a different viewpoint to the world. Your culture and tastes may predispose you to one form of art but your frame of reference can expand especially given all the opportunities for beholding.

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